Embedding social procurement

Find out how to embed social procurement into existing procurement processes and everyday buying activity.

Shift in procurement practices 

Introducing a whole of government social procurement framework requires a shift in procurement practices whereby decisions are based on an evaluation of social and sustainable outcomes as well as price, quality, and risk. Embedding this framework will need consideration of:  

  • alignment with government and departmental procurement processes;  
  • setting targets and measuring outcomes; and 
  • an implementation plan for the framework. 

Alignment with major projects

Social procurement approaches are increasingly being incorporated into Victorian Government major projects. This framework draws on this momentum and creates a consistent and coordinated approach. The Government expects major projects to continue to drive innovation and best practice. 

This momentum leverages existing policies such as Local Jobs First –Victorian Industry Participation Policy and Major Projects Skills Guarantee. These policies drive local industry participation and the delivery of job outcomes in major projects and other procurements. 

Alignment with State Purchase Contracts and pre-qualification registers

A substantial proportion of Victorian Government procurement is undertaken under State Purchase Contracts and through supplier pre-qualification registers. Over time, State Purchase Contracts and registers will be adapted to embed the framework’s objectives. Some opportunities exist under existing contracts. Others will be considered when contracts are renewed. 

While opportunities vary for each State Purchase Contracts and register, actions may include: 

  • increasing the number of targeted suppliers on panels and registers, and making it easy for buyers to identify them; 
  • incorporating questions into panel rules and response templates that incentivise gender-balanced and regionally located teams on individual engagements; and 
  • working with suppliers on workforce development and environmental sustainability. 

Alignment with Supplier Code of Conduct

The Victorian Government’s commitment to ethical, sustainable and socially responsible procurement is reflected in its Supplier Code of Conduct, designed to ensure that its suppliers maintain the same values. 

The Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the minimum ethical standards in behaviour expected of suppliers when conducting business with or on behalf of the State, in the areas of: 

  • a. integrity, ethics, and conduct; 
  • b. conflict of interest, gifts, benefits, and hospitality; 
  • c. corporate governance; 
  • d. labour and human rights; 
  • e. health and safety; and 
  • f. environmental management. 

The Supplier Code of Conduct and this Social Procurement Framework are complementary policies. The Supplier Code of Conduct sets minimum standards aimed at reducing harm, whereas this framework encourages inclusive practices aimed at value creation. 

Examples of social procurement in action

Level Crossing Removal Project –Major projects creating meaningful employment

The Level Crossing Removal Project (part of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions) has been undertaking social procurement through each of its project packages. The Authority has established a range of requirements, including a target that 3% of the total contract spend will go to social enterprises, Aboriginal businesses, and direct employment of disadvantaged job seekers in the supply chain. 

The Level Crossing Removal Project has supported these targets with a comprehensive data collection and dashboard reporting model, which it uses to provide monthly tracking of progress for the suppliers and for Government. The targets, together with a focus on tracking activity, have helped to drive a significant response, particularly from ‘Tier 1’ suppliers, across the Level Crossing Removal Project program of major projects. The outcomes have included: 

  • major new expenditure creating growth and driving opportunities for social enterprises and Aboriginal businesses throughout the project supply chains;  
  • organisations such as Social Traders and Social Ventures Australia working with buyers and social enterprises (particularly those providing employment for people with disability or from disadvantaged backgrounds) to build capacity to respond to the new opportunities;  
  • significant new employment outcomes for a range of target disadvantaged communities working directly for private sector providers across the supply chain; and 
  • helping to further embed supplier commitment to deliver on the Government’s Local Jobs First –Victorian Industry Participation Policy requirements and Major Projects Skills Guarantee targets and employment for disadvantaged communities. 

Women Barristers Briefing Policy – Department of Justice and Regulation - Gender equality in State Purchase Contracts

In 2015, the Government Legal Services Panel revived a policy requiring private firms contracted by the Victorian Government to: 

  • report on their briefing of female barristers; 
  • comply with the Victorian Bar’s Equal Opportunity Briefing Policy; and 
  • report on their workplace equal opportunity arrangements. 

Reporting is published in the Women Barristers Briefing Report – the report for 2009 to 2015 recorded that female barristers received 25.4% of total fees paid to counsel and 34.9% of briefs. Women comprise 27 per cent of the Victorian Bar. 

Tools and support

This content on this page is taken from Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework. Access a PDF version in the social procurement document library. 

For more information about social procurement, please contact the Social Procurement team